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Occupant of Park Keeper’s Lodge has no Security of Tenure

The occupant of one of Newcastle’s best-loved buildings, home to generations of wardens who tended the city’s Nuns Moor Park, has failed to convince the Court of Appeal that he has the right to continue living in the house indefinitely following the departure of his estranged wife who was the property’s tenant.

ParkMichael Rogan and his wife Christine, who was then a typist with the council, moved into Nuns Moor Lodge in November 1999. Tthe property’s previous occupiers had been park keepers and Mr Rogan’s position was put in doubt when he and his wife separated and she moved out.

The council subsequently served Mr Rogan with notice to quit. However, he insisted that his wife had been a secure tenant and that, as her spouse, he had the right to continue in occupation by virtue of section 30 of the Family Law Act 1996.

The first instance judge dismissed his arguments, noting that, when Mrs Rogan moved in, she did so under a written agreement with the council that specifically stated that her tenancy was non-secure. He ruled that the park keeper who lived in the house before the couple had occupation rights linked to the ‘better performance’ of his duties and thus was excluded from enjoyment of a secure tenancy by the exemption contained within paragraph 2(4) of schedule 1 of the Housing Act 1985.

On appeal, Mr Rogan’s lawyers argued that the judge had erred in law and reached conclusions on the evidence that were ‘irrational and perverse’. However, refusing permission to appeal, Lord Justice Mummery said that Mr Rogan had no realistic prospect of mounting a successful challenge to the judge’s decision.